The location of the Shrine was too exposed and vulnerable to pirates. The hermit responsible anticipated this and voiced his fears about security to Emperor Charles V. His appeals appear to go unheeded.


In AD 1540, a few galleons anchored below the Shrine in the dark hours. The guards and hermit questioned the visitors as to their identity and their omission of the salvoes. The reply proffered was: they did not wish to disturb the people. They also desired a celebration in the Shrine the next morning.


In AD 1545, General Caramani –leading Barbarossa’s troops- entered the Shrine under the pretence of being Christians. They looted the Shrine and dismembered the Image of Our Lady causing great havoc.


They continued their pillaging into the town. Many were taken as ransom and many were lost in defence of churches.


This prompted the King to setup defences and security, including the Shrine.

Our Lady of Europe
 Image of Our Lady of Europe, carved when King Henry IV revived the devotion in 1462.  This image is prior to more modern restoration, but gives an indication of the historical likeness.

3. Barbarossa’s Troops Pillage The Shrine